[News] Occupation of UK factory involved in Israeli drone manufacture enters third day

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 16 13:07:53 EDT 2020


https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-israel-drone-elbit-factory-palestine-occupation
Occupation
of UK factory involved in Israeli drone manufacture enters third day
By Joe Gill - 16 September 2020
------------------------------

Direct action protests against Israel’s largest weapons company have
escalated in the United Kingdom, with an occupation of a factory building
engines for drones used by Israel’s army entering its third day on
Wednesday.

Protests were also held outside Elbit System UK’s London headquarters and
at its landlord’s main offices, as new solidarity group Palestine Action
<https://londonpalestineaction.tumblr.com/> escalated its campaign to shut
down the company's operation in the UK.

Elbit Systems UK is part of the high-tech weapons group that supplies more
than 80 percent of the Israeli army’s military drones, including the Hermes
900 and Hermes 450, used extensively in the 2014 assault on Gaza, in which
2,200 Palestinians, including 500 children, were killed.

Three activists were arrested on Monday after locking themselves onto the
gates of the UAV Engines factory in Shenstone, Staffordshire, central
England. Other activists scaled the building, smashed windows, daubed the
brickwork in red paint, and remain on the roof of the factory, which is now
draped in Palestinian flags.

Police have confiscated supplies of food brought by supporters of the
activists, who say they are determined to continue occupying the site for
as long as possible.

[image: A police car outside the Shenstone factory of UAV Engines, which
supplies engines used in Elbit System drones used by the Israeli army
(Palestine Action)]
A police car outside the Shenstone factory of UAV Engines, which supplies
engines used in Elbit System drones used by the Israeli army (Palestine
Action)

Staffordshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Scott Green told local
newspaper The Express and Star that officers were called to the scene at
around 6am on Monday and arrests were made.

On Wednesday, activists also targeted Elbit Systems HQ in Holborn and their
landlord - LaSalle Investment Management - in Mayfair.

Palestine Action is calling for all Elbit Systems sites to be shut down in
the UK, and an end to the kingdom's complicity with Israel’s illegal
occupation of Palestinian lands, apartheid legal system and documented
human rights abuses of Palestinian civilians.

Michael Fabricant, the Conservative MP for Lichfield, also told the Express
and Star: "This is a fairly regular and tedious demonstration. UAV employs
local people and supplies equipment to the British armed forces.

"Perhaps if the Palestinians were able to establish a western democracy,
like the state of Israel, sever their ties with terrorist organisations
Hamas and Hezbollah - which have as their main policy the destruction of
Israel - a workable peace treaty between the Palestinians and Israel can be
achieved.”

Responding to Fabricant’s comments, Huda Ammori, one of the activists
occupying the UAV Engines factory, said: “The UK government has been
complicit in the colonisation of Palestine for over 100 years. Now they
continue to profit from, sustain and facilitate Israel’s apartheid regime.

“While our government continues to turn a blind eye to Elbit Systems
continuing to arm Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people, we
too will continue to disrupt and take direct action for the sake of human
rights, justice and freedom.”

During a visit to the UK last month, Israel’s minister of strategic
affairs, Orit Farkash-Hacohen, complained about protests against Elbit
Systems, which has 10 offices and factories in Britain, in a meeting with
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

“The offices of an Israeli security company were vandalised for the fourth
time in the last month. We want Israeli companies to continue doing
business in London. It’s good for both countries,” the minister told Raab
at the meeting.
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